The actual Pad Man Arunachalam Muruganantham watched R Balki’s bio-pic Pad Man on Wednesday. And Arunachalam Muruganantham just can’t get over the experience. “It was like my whole life, all its struggles and strife all the grief and joy, flashing in front of me. I couldn’t have hoped for a better film on my life and struggle than this.”
So is he fully satisfied? How much of his real story does Pad Man capture? “I’d say the film captures 80 percent of my real story. It couldn’t be a 100 percent my story. Then it would’ve been a documentary on me. Cinema must define and refine reality. I feel the film captures the essence and the true meaning of my struggle to give women dignity and validation not only during their time of the month but all through the year. Akshay Kumar has played my character with such warmth humour and finesse. I cried watching him and the film.”
Is Arunachalam Muruganantham a movie buff? “Not at all. I don’t watch films. I don’t have time for it. The last film I saw was Sholay with my father in 1975. And now I’ve seen my own story in Pad Man. My father is not here anymore with me. But I am sure he’d been very proud to see his son’s life portrayed so beautifully on screen.”
Arunachalam Muruganantham’s wife who inspired his struggle to manufacture economical sanitary pads is yet to see the film. “My wife and daughter will watch the film in a couple of days with me. I can’t wait to see my wife’s reaction. The entire story of my life and the recognition it has brought me is because of her,” says the real-life Pad Man who feels there should be more films on unsung heroes.
“But then how many Balkis are there to tell such stories?” wonders Arunachalam Muruganantham.